Features

Samsung Galaxy S7, S7 Edge Hands On – Better than eyes can see

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Two months of collective restraint from the world’s most powerful smartphone companies have led up to this day in Barcelona. If this were Hollywood, today would be the Oscars, maybe even more exciting. Today, tightly guarded secrets finally see the light of day, leaks that couldn’t wait to be revealed are confirmed, and expectations that have kept the tech industry at a standstill are either quenched or met with utter disappointment.

In a span of just two years, Korean smartphone giant Samsung has been on the receiving end of both criticism and praise. Its 2014 smartphone the Galaxy S5, with its plasticky build and faux leather stylings was a big miss while its 2015 attempt the glass and metal Galaxy S6 was for the most part, everything its demanding user base clamoured for.

Today as they unveil their latest Pièce De Résistance or as the Spanish say the Plato Fuerte, Samsung hopes for a repeat of last year’s performance. 

I’ve seen and held the new Galaxy S7 and its curvier big brother the Galaxy S7 Edge – both are great phones, not blow your mind phones, but phones that deliver a certain level of contentment and satisfaction.

Call it managing expectations. For sure, a smartphone on the bleeding edge is what we tech journalists seek out. But at its core, if you strip away the pomp and hyperbole of a smartphone launch, see beyond the marketing speak, and allow enough time for the hype to die down, you’ll find that what everybody really wants is a smartphone they can be content with.

The Samsung Galaxy S7 is one of those phones.

COMEBACK

Two key themes mark the design of the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge (from hereon out collectively referred to as the S7 unless otherwise stated) – giving back what was surreptitiously taken away, and improving on what has already been done right.

Like the S5 of two years past, the S7 has an IP68 rating that guarantees survival under fresh or pool water up to depths of 1.5 meters for 30 minutes. The only orifices on the phone are a micro USB charging port and headphone jack, both remain exposed but protected thanks to a new cap-less design.

The hybrid SIM tray on the S7 and S7 Edge takes two nano SIM cards or one SIM and on microSD card.

The hybrid SIM tray on the S7 and S7 Edge takes two nano SIM cards or one SIM and on microSD card.

The only removable part is its SIM card tray, lined with rubber stoppers to keep water out. The hybrid tray has two slots, one for a nano SIM, and the other for a micro SD (or a second nano SIM) card of up to 200GB in case the phone’s internal storage is not enough (32GB or 64GB depending on your region). The latter should appease critics who decried the absence of the expandable memory on the S6, and gives Samsung a leg up on Apple whose never made external cards an option on the iPhone. 

One feature not making a comeback is user replaceable batteries. Instead Samsung is giving the S7 and S7 Edge batteries with larger capacities. Up to 3000 mAh on the S7 and 3600 mAh on the S7 Edge. Both phones also support fast wired and wireless charging and take 95 minutes and 115 minutes (wired) and 130 and 150 minutes (wireless) respectively to charge from 0 to 100%.

DESIGN

If you’ve seen the S6 then the S7 won’t look dramatically different. The S7 is still mostly made up of glass and metal but now has slightly more rounded corners, a slightly more squarish home button, and a display that’s even more flushed against its sides.

samsung-galaxy-s7-curves

Both the S7 and S7 Edge are curvier than last years models thanks to new 3D glass.

The biggest design change can be seen and felt once you turn the phone around. The back of the of S7 now curves outward on both ends made from what Samsung calls 3D glass. It’s a simple but practical design change that’s made the phone less boxy, more ergonomic, and one that feels thinner than it actually is.

CAMERA

Samsung also improved the highly regarded camera of the S6.

While its shaved down the unsightly camera bump, everything else is bigger and better, including a faster f/1.7 lens and larger 1.4um pixel size.

samsung-galaxy-s7-camera

On paper the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge have one of the best cameras seen on a smartphone ever.

The company is touting a new feature called dual pixel technology, something seen on high end professional cameras from Canon but never on a smartphone. The promise is even better low light performance and even faster focus speeds, up to 4x faster than its predecessor in low light.

Samsung is also making a bold move this year, cutting down on megapixels from 16 on the S6 to only 12 on the S7. In lieu of more megapixels you get larger pixels, a tradeoff that theoretically should deliver better looking photos across lighting conditions.

Double pressing on the home button still launches the camera app, and launch time is as fast as ever. From within the camera app Samsung has added a new Motion Panorama mode and made improvements to its Hyperlapse feature bringing down file sizes significantly so that it can be shared easily on the web.

Similar to what Apple did with the iPhone 6S, the S7’s selfie camera gets fill flash, not an actual front facing flash, but a sudden burst of light from your smartphone display.

POWER

Depending on where you are in the world the S7 will be powered by different processors, either an octa-core processor from Samsung (Exynos 8890) or a quad-core processor from Snapdragon (Snapdragon 820), both are promised to be up to 58% faster than last year’s models.

Memory-wise, 4GB of RAM is standard across the board.

Gamers will enjoy a new feature called Game Tools that allow you to take screenshots, record game play, turn off notifications while in game, and the ability switch to a power saving mode that reduces performance but saves on battery life. The phone also supports Vulcan API so game developers can tap into even more power saving and performance driving features in tandem with the phone.

S7 EDGE

Last year Samsung introduced two innovative new smartphones with curved screens, the 5.1-inch S6 Edge and 5.7 inch S7 Edge Plus. Both models have been consolidated into one product this year the 5.5-inch Galaxy S7 Edge. The change might sound confusing at first but it is a smart move that clearly defines Samsung’s top-of-the-line smartphone offerings which in 2016 are the Galaxy S7 (5.1 inches) Galaxy S7 Edge (5.5 inches) and Galaxy Note 5 (5.7 inches with a bundled stylus), none of which compete with each other in both feature set and screen size. 

Tasks Edge on the Galaxy S7 Edge allows users to set shortcuts to tasks within certain asks, soon even 3rd party ones

Tasks Edge on the Galaxy S7 Edge allows users to set shortcuts to tasks within certain asks, soon even 3rd party ones

Edge functionality on the S7 Edge has been expanded – the edge display is now two columns wide. The extra screen real estate means more space for 3rd party widgets. On top of “People Edge” (contact shortcuts) and “Apps Edge” (app shortcuts) Samsung is adding a third edge screen called “Task Edge” which allows you to create shortcuts to specific tasks within apps. For example you create a shortcut to launch the selfie camera, or compose a new SMS message. For now its Samsung apps only but the company is opening up Task Edge to third party developers so soon you should also be able to also create shortcuts for posting photos to Instagram and composing Tweets.

AVAILABILITY

It’s only been a few hours since the launch of the S7, not enough time to crown it the next best thing. In a week or so after this hype has died down, I should be able to assess how I truly feel about the device and determine whether or not it is a phone that delivers contentment. But by then the phone could already be in your hands.

In an effort to be the first flagship smartphone in stores this 2016, Samsung is pushing for an aggressive worldwide release. Both phones will be available in the United States on March 11th. The Philippine release is scheduled for March 19th, with gold and black 32GB variants of the S7 and S7 Edge retailing for Php 34990 and Php 39990 respectively.

[irp posts=”2481″ name=”Singapore is getting a taste of Samsung’s pink-gold Galaxy S7 phones”]

Apps

Going Cashless: Make payments, transfer funds all on your phone

It’s pretty convenient

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So you’re stuck at home with some extra time on your hands. When you feel like taking a break from all the shows you’ve been watching, perhaps you can make time to figure out how to transition to cashless payments.

We’re dealing with a unique situation right now and cashless transactions is one of the little ways in which we can help with social distancing measures. Not to mention, it’s also pretty convenient.

If you already have a bank account, chances are you’re already using that bank’s mobile app. If not, we encourage you to do so. But we’re not going deep into that. Today, we’re looking at other payment services that will help you go cashless.

GCash

We partnered with GCash a while back for this quick How-To video. But if you don’t feel like watching, the text comes right after.

Before anything else download the app on the App Store, Google Play, or AppGallery.

Step 1. Open the GCash app and enter your mobile number. Tap “Next” to proceed.

Step 2. Fill in the mandatory information. These include your First Name, Last Name, Birthday, Address, Email Address. When you’re done, tap “Next” to proceed

Step 3. Review your information. Gotta make sure everything’s accurate and matches any official ID you have with you. If you have a referral code, input it using the drop down below your information. Afterwards, tap “Next”.

Step 4. Set your Mobile Pin by inputting a 4 digit MPIN. It’s very important that you can easily remember your MPIN. It serves as your password to access your GCash account. You also need it for your future GCash transactions. So yeah, don’t use your birthday or any birthdays of anyone you’re super close with. Protect your MPIN like your life depended on it. Tap “Submit” to move on.

Step 5. You will receive a 6-digit authentication code via SMS in the device authentication page. Enter the code to authenticate your device.

Step 6. Enter your 4-digit GCash MPIN and click ‘Log In’ to enter the app.

Congratulations! You’re now on GCash. There’s a ton that you can do here. This is where I connected my bank account so I’ve been using GCash to move money around my other accounts, transfer money to my family and friends, load up my prepaid sim, and of course the usual in-store transactions. You can also link it to your Lazada account for your online shopping needs.

For more information, visit the GCash Help Center.

PayMaya

PayMaya is very similar to GCash in that they practically let you do the same things. As mentioned earlier, these are making cashless payments, transferring funds, as well as online shopping. Personally, this is the account I used for most of my app subscriptions like Netflix, Spotify, and NBA League Pass.

Again, make sure you have the app. Get it on the App Store, Google Play, or AppGallery.

Step1: Register with your name, email and mobile number​. The mobile number can be with any network you’re currently using.

Step 2: Create a password​. Unlike GCash which uses an MPIN, the PayMaya password is a lot more like the usual passwords you use for your social media accounts. Again, make sure it’s secure and something easy for you to remember.

Step 3: Receive a verification SMS​. Enter this verification number on the app.

Step 4: Click the VIEW CARD button​.

Step 5: Input your address and birthday​.

Step 6: Receive a confirmation that your account has been activated​

PayMaya also has these cashback promos every now and then. That means anything you purchase, a percentage of that goes back to your account. Here’s a quick little video on that.

To find how you can maximize PayMaya just head on over to their Support Page.

GrabPay

Grab has surprisingly expanded its GrabPay services to more than just hailing rides, deliveries, and paying for GrabFood.

You can now also do the following:

  1. Cashless payment for Grab services (GrabCar, GrabFood, GrabExpress, GrabMart)
  2. Buy prepaid load
  3. Pay bills (Cablielink, Cignal TV, Destiny Cable, DFA, Easytrip, Globe, Manila Water, Maynilad, Meralco, Metro Cebu Water, MMDA, NBI, Pag-IBIG Fund, PLDT, Sky Cable, Smart, Smart Bro, SSS, Sun Celular, UNICEF, VECO)
  4. Pay in-store
  5. Pay online
  6. Send money for free (person-to-person and bank transfer)

Registering is pretty straightforward. Download the app on the App Store or Google Play, and then register using your phone number, Facebook account, or Google account.

For more on what else you can do with GrabPay and how they’re expanding, you may visit their Help Page.

You can also use these services to donate towards efforts in fighting COVID-19. For other ways to help check out our Where To Donate article.

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Features

Her story: Shyama Golden

On childhood memories and creating work that make people more involved

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Shyama Golden is a visual artist from Brooklyn, New York. She was born in Texas, but also lived in New Zealand and Sri Lanka, where her family is originally from. These influences didn’t start coming out in her work until she became more distanced from them. “Sometimes you have to be taken out of an environment to realize what was special about it,” she notes.

The huge painting in her living room called Road Trip was inspired by both her Sri Lankan background and growing up in Texas. Central to the painting is a yakka, a demon character in Sri Lankan folklore that performs exorcism rituals to cure people of their ailments. Shyama says the rituals are something that people have been doing for thousands of years, although they are much less common now — almost like a dying art. In a way, she hopes to resurrect that through the piece.

Shyama draws inspiration everywhere — from distant sources, to forgotten artists, to old books, to obscure references — but so much of her work also reflects her own childhood memories.

“Sometimes you have to be taken out of an environment to realize what was special about it.”

Catsquatch is a collaboration between her and her husband. She did a large painting for it, but it’s also a children’s storybook that they wrote together — a story of house cats running away from home, yearning independence.

Her memory of seeing stray cats wandering everywhere while living in Sri Lanka is also evident in a portrait of the younger versions of her mom and her aunt.

The most notable facet of her body of work, however, isn’t their size or the presence of felines, but the number of digital portraits of women of color she’s drawn over the years.

From flat, minimalist digital work as a graphic designer, having the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil has allowed her to create work that still looks like an oil painting but at a much faster pace.

“What the iPad did is allow me to keep my style. It was really helpful to me because over two years I was able to output what used to take me 5-6 years,” says Shyama.

Among the portraits that she’s done, her favorite is the one of Indian author and activist Arundhati Roy for The Atlantic. She says she liked working on it because it tells a story within the portrait, “beyond just the face, it actually has a whole narrative to it.”

She also uses the iPad to do studies and mockups of what she intends to be a physical work. Initially drawn on Procreate using its symmetry feature, The Feminine Mirage uses a custom panel and a mirror to convey myths perpetuated by different social constructs. Although extremely challenging and time-consuming, she enjoys working on pieces that have a presence in the physical world but are still interactive as they make people more involved.

Her story: Shyama Golden

Shyama Golden is a visual artist whose memories of growing up in Texas and Sri Lanka are evident influences in a number of paintings that she's done. Most notable of her body of work, however, are theportraits of women of color she's drawn over the years using the iPad Pro and the Apple Pencil. This is her story.

Posted by Her GadgetMatch on Friday, 27 March 2020


Her story is a series featuring women we admire from a wide array of cultures and industries — women who excel and work hard at honing their craft by using the tools and technology they have at their disposal. They tell stories of their journey through life, their influences and dreams, their unique experiences, and how they navigate the modern world.

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Hands-On

Huawei P40 Pro Unboxing and Complete Hands-On

‘Visionary Photography’

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Everything you need to know about the new Huawei P40 Series. Yep there are 3 phones this year, the P40, P40 Pro and P40 Pro+. Yep a pro plus model!

In this video you get a P40 Pro Unboxing, Hands-On, some photo samples, and a camera comparison vs the P30 Pro.

Of course I’ll also answer you questions: What’s new? How is the P40 Pro’s camera vs the P30 Pro, and what’s it like without Google Play Services? And while you’ll have to wait for my full review for a verdict, I’ll try to answer the question, Is it your GadgetMatch?

Watch our Hands-On video.

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